Child Psychotherapy and Research: New Approaches, Emerging Findings

Child Psychotherapy and Research: New Approaches, Emerging Findings

Child Psychotherapy and Research: New Approaches, Emerging Findings

Child Psychotherapy and Research: New Approaches, Emerging Findings


Child Psychotherapy and Researchbrings together some of the most exciting and innovative research activity taking place within psychoanalytic child psychotherapy today.

Drawing on the expertise of an international range of contributors, this book describes work at the cutting edge of research in psychoanalytic child psychotherapy and related areas. It presents many of the emerging findings while also illustrating a whole range of methodologies - both quantitative and qualitative - that have been developed to investigate this field. The book examines the historical and philosophical background of child psychotherapy research and shows how research illuminates different clinical phenomena, the processes of psychotherapy, its evaluation and outcome.

Recent developments in therapeutic work with children, including the increased focus on evidence-based practice, make research a much higher priority in the field than ever before. With this increasing significance, a whole new generation of clinicians are required to become familiar and competent with research methods and research literature. Child Psychotherapy and Researchwill be a vital resource for anyone involved in research and training related to psychotherapy and child mental health, as well as of great interest to a range of mental health professionals.


There are many reasons to turn to an inspiring, multifaceted book by clinicians who conduct research into child psychotherapy.

To begin with, of course, children’s psychological well-being is hugely important. Indeed, it is so important, that many of us are inclined to divert our eyes from the prevalence of misery, distress, unmanageable emotion, and unrewarding behaviour among children, as well as to underestimate the extent of the poverty, deprivation and abuse that many children have to face. Researchers are committed to addressing such matters directly, through measurement and systematic description. In so doing, they make it that much more difficult for any of us to marginalize uncomfortable facts of many children’s lives. They help us to face truths we would rather not see.

Then there is the brighter side of the picture. It is not simply that we need to identify the sources and implications of childhood psychological disorder. Thankfully, we have opportunities to intervene to make things better. Research evidence is a vital force in changing social policy, both directly in its input to political decisions that concern public health, and indirectly through its effects on public opinion. When disseminated effectively, it can affect societal attitudes to the upbringing of children, as well as the provision of care for those who are disadvantaged or troubled.

If these rather abstract reflections appear to advocate research to do with children’s plight in general, what relevance do they have for child psychotherapy rather than for, say, child psychiatry?

Child psychotherapy has a special place, and a special value, within the broader range of research on the psychopathology and treatment of troubled children. One reason is that child psychotherapists have an unremitting concern with how children experience others, how they experience themselves, and how they experience the world in which they live. Where much (not all) of the practice of child psychiatry is somewhat distanced from intensive, long-term involvement with particular children by the pull toward medical objectivity and nosological clarity (although when it comes to childhood disorders, ‘clarity’ is perhaps a charitable term), child psychotherapists expose themselves to the full force of children’s emotional turmoil.

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